Nov 27 2019

A Thank you from our Northern England Regional Director

It’s fantastic to see so many articles about trees and woods in the news recently – and rightly so. They are centre-stage in the battle against climate change and the nature crisis. Check out our response with our  Big Climate Fightback No wonder we’ve never been busier! This is why the support we get from you, our dedicated team of volunteers, is increasingly valuable.

In the North we currently have 1017 volunteer roles, with over  70 new volunteers joining us this year – welcome to the team! I’ve been blown away by the commitment and professionalism of the work you do, and the value that it adds. Huge thanks for everything you’ve done for us this year. And huge thanks also to Claire Green, our Volunteer Development Officer, who I’m sure you know, shares your energy and passion and helps enormously with your volunteering experience.

New woodland working groups have established this year – at Lady Mabels Wood in Lancashire and at sites across the North East in partnership with Living Woods North East. More groups are lined up to start working at Soapwell Wood, Clarence Wood and Frodsham Woods in 2020.

We now have a fantastic guided walk leader programme with 8 guided walk leaders delivering an inspiring programme of volunteer led guided walks at our picturesque Nidd Gorge and Hackfall sites in Yorkshire, and we also have a brilliant team of guided walk leaders all trained up and delivering a vast array of guided walks at Smithills Estate. You’re all doing a great job spreading the message, providing enjoyment and inspiring others to support our cause. Plans are well underway for a similar guided walk programme at Pontburn Wood and Low Burnhall in the North East.

To all our volunteers who have helped out at a whole host of events on and off our estate this year, – whether you welcomed supporters at the Great Yorkshire Show, manned our mobile visitor centre at Sheep Day in Skipton, braved the wet weather at a planting event or worked late into the evening at an Autumn lantern event – thank you, and I hope you’ll return next year!

We’ve strived to keep you in touch with each other (and with us) again this year, through the 6 volunteer gatherings, well attended by over 160 volunteers from across the region. And we’ve had volunteers learning about ancient tree recording at Ripley Castle and Rydal Hall, as well as a hugely entertaining tour of Norton Priory. I hope you had fun and learnt something new. There’ll be more next year.

To help keep you safe, informed and up to date, we’ve delivered 21 regional training courses for our volunteers ranging from first aid to guided walk leader training to tree ID and woodland ecology at locations across the region, with a total of 173 attendees. Not to mention a whole host of other training and volunteer events delivered at our top sites Smithills and Skipton.

Talking of top sites, our Young People’s Forest at Mead in Derbyshire kicked off this year where we’re delving deep into the world of youth social action – if ever there was a time to engage young people in the environment, it’s now. Watch this space!

Thanks again, and I’m sure 2020 will be another incredible year for the Trust and our cause.

Alistair Crosby –  Regional Director, Northern England


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